Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Short Story Wednesday: Crime Hits Home, Part 2


Crime Hits Home is an anthology from Mystery Writers of America, edited by S. J. Rozan. The book was published in April 2022 and all of the stories in the book were first published in this book.

The theme for the stories in this book is home and the crimes that endanger it. The definition of home has been interpreted in different ways in the various stories in this book.

In 2023, I reported on the first three stories in the book. See my comments on those stories here

This week I have read four more stories in the book:

"Banana Island" by Susan Breen

In terms of pure enjoyment, this was my favorite story. Marly Bingham owns a small house in Long Island City (three bedrooms, 1.5 baths, Standing Room Only kitchen). For this house she has been offered two million dollars. She doesn't want to sell, although she could use the money. Many of her relatives live in the same area and she wants to stay where she has family. But the really interesting part is that Marly works for the IRS; her job is to talk on the phone to scammers who try to convince lonely, needy people into giving away all their money. While Marly is taking up the scammer's time, they are not bothering other people. The scammer she is currently working on is very persistent. The story was very unusual, entertaining, and  I loved the resolution. 

"Calling Mr. Smith" by Ellen Hart

This is another unusual story. It takes place in October 1987, in Hollywood, Minnesota. The theme is "you can't go home again." 

Astrid Ahlness is returning to her home town and the house she grew up in to celebrate her mother's 75th birthday. Astrid and her mother have never gotten along. Her older brother, Ivor, has always been the favored one who can do no wrong. Now that they are older and have families, Astrid and Ivor get along fairly well. Astrid desperately wants to inherit her half of the house when her mother dies, but Ivor wants to buy it from their mother for his summer home. There is a lot of plot and backstory packed into this 23-page story. Overall it was sad and depressing but well-written.

"Stalking Adolf" by Renee James

This story centers on a transgender woman. She lives with her 16-year-old daughter, who resents the fact that her father chose to become a woman. The woman, who narrates the story, is being stalked by a man who threatens her life and her daughter's. One night he invades their home, and she has to decide how to handle the situation. An interesting story, but the resolution made me uncomfortable.

"Playing for Keeps" by S.J. Rozan

The last story in the book is very brief and takes place in the US following World War II. The main character is a Jewish girl who was in a Polish prison camp during the war. Her mother's cousin brought her and her younger brother to live in a small town in Ohio following the war. The children in the neighborhood taunt her and bully her brother into giving up his marbles. She is determined to win them back. An excellent story and very moving.

Other resources:


Sam said...

This is still one of my favorite short story collections. You made me feel like reading some of those stories again. Great review.

Margot Kinberg said...

This really sounds like a good collection, Tracy. I'm glad to see that none of these stories disappointed you, and some of the names in the collection are authors whose work I really like. I'm going to have to check this anthology out - I really am.

TracyK said...

Sam, So far this is a really good short story anthology. A good variety in types of stories and authors I have not read before. And my copy is a mass market paperback size, rare for these times, with good sized print.

TracyK said...

Margot, I have been pleased with this anthology. I initially purchased it because it was edited by one of my favorite authors, and it has proved to be very entertaining.

thecuecard said...

I hope the scammer is put in their place. Telemarketers can drive one mad. Seems like a good collection and interesting theme about crime at home.

TracyK said...

Susan, the fate of the scammer is complicated. He does play a very important part in the story. And yes, telemarketers are a real pain.

This collection of stories has been very good so far, and a lot of the stories are by authors I never heard of before. I think the choice of home as a theme gives a lot of leeway in how it can be handled.

Todd Mason said...


...in Patti's absence.

TracyK said...

Todd, thanks for putting together those links in a post, and I look forward to following up on all of them.

Todd Mason said...

You're quite welcome, and thank you! And the best and most painless/least inconvenient luck with the eyes tomorrow, and later.

TracyK said...

Thanks, Todd. I confess I am a bit anxious about the cataract surgery and will be glad for it all to be over.

CLM said...

Hope you are making a good recovery! Don't overdue it.

TracyK said...

Constance, I had my second surgery this morning and it seems to have gone well and I wasn't as tired after surgery this time. Thanks for your kind thoughts. I will try not to overdo it. There is definitely the temptation to do that.

NancyElin said...

Oh,Tracy so glad to hear your cataract surgery went well! I know the feeling the day before (bit of trepidation) and the feeling the next day when you finally take of the
protective cover an let the eye see again.
I had 2 eyes done in 2019 (two weeks of each other) and I have had no problems and am reading with pleasure. BTW..how are your hips? I just had my second hip replacement and now with both done...I feel like a car with a new set of tires.
Thanks for stopping by my blog with your comment. It was good to hear from you!

TracyK said...

Thanks, Nancy. My eyes are doing fine. I was very anxious before the surgeries but now I am very glad I finally decided it was time to do it. I only need glasses for reading now or some things that are sort of between near and far vision. I am still fatigued most of the time but that is improving too.

No problems with my hips so far, although I do have minor problems with back pain. I am glad to hear that both your hips have been replaced and things are going well with that.

NancyElin said...

Tracy, I have a question. Can you give me a few of your favorite authors who have created some memorable policemen, detectives, sleuths, inspectors, sheriffs...that take place in the west (past or present), in cowboy country with western genre feeling? I would love to read a few.

TracyK said...

Nancy, I don't have a lot of experience with the western genre. But I do have a few suggestions.

Bill Crider writes the Sheriff Dan Rhodes series, and it was the first one I thought of. The first book, Too Late to Die, was published in 1986. In that book, Dan Rhodes is up for reelection to the job of Sheriff of Blacklin County, Texas. I have read 8 books in the series.

Bill Crider also wrote Outrage at Blanco. It is set in 1887 and the action starts out in Blanco, Texas. Ellie Taine has been raped and her husband killed and she hunts down the killers seeking revenge. Published in 1998.

There is another series set in Texas by Terry Shames, about a retired Sheriff in a small town who solves crimes. First book is A Killing at Cotton Hill, and there are now ten in the series. I have only read the first one, and I plan to read the second one.

Heartshot by Steven F. Havill is set in a fictional county in New Mexico, and was published in 1991. The protagonist is Undersheriff Bill Gastner, an older man with health problems. That series is still going, although I think the current sheriff is a younger female, and

Craig Johnson writes a series about Walt Longmire, the sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming, which is located next to a Northern Cheyenne Reservation. (Made into the Longmire TV series.)

NancyElin said...

Oh, Tracy...just what I was looking for !
I'll see if I can find any of these books soon.
I'm startimg this month with two writers Lance Weller and Charles Portis...both
producing books in the "western genre".

TracyK said...

You are welcome, Nancy. I have read True Grit by Portis, and I want to read his other novels.